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News > Iraq

Death Toll of 60 Forces Iraq's PM Adel Abdul Mahdi to Resign

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi during a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq Oct. 23, 2019.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi during a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq Oct. 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 November 2019

PM Mahdi resigns after two months of protests that left at least 400 dead and hundreds of injured.

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Friday announced his resignation after the country's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric urged lawmakers to reconsider their support for his government on Thursday, when at least 60 demonstrators were killed by security forces.


Over 30 Protesters Killed in Iraq Amid New Wave of Violence

Mahdi announced that he would resign precisely after the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani requested the formation of a new government.

"In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand [to accept] my resignation from the leadership of the current government," Abdul Mahdi said, as reported by BBC.

His decision happens amidst massive protests that have become increasingly violent due to indiscriminate police repression.

Young people, students, unemployed and workers have been demanding that the Iraqi political system be deeply reformed because they consider it to be "endemically corrupt."

Iraq’s current political elite is mainly composed of powerful Shiite politicians, clergy and paramilitary leaders. Many of them lived outside the country until the U.S.-led military invasion overthrew the government of Sunni leader Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraq's Parliament announced that it will convene an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the political crisis and Mahdi's resignation, which was celebrated with joy by Iraqi protesters.

The Shiite PM's decision did not, however, halt the violence. On Friday morning sixteen people died and over one hundred citizens were injured in Nassiriya city​​​​​​​, where thirty people also died on Thursday.

"Mahdi's resignation is just the beginning. We'll stay in the streets until the entire government has gone," Mustafa Hafidh, a protester at Baghdad's Tahrir Square, said.

Iraqi forces have killed nearly 400 unarmed protesters since anti-government protests broke out on Oct. 1.​​​​​​​ In many cases, witnesses say that unidentified armed men shot live rounds at demonstrators.​​​​​​​

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